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"We wanted to make him a little more guy-next-door.
One of the commercials, for example, involved him finding a cannon and pressing a button, causing a resulting cannonball to fire out and stick to his face.
The original saying in the commercial was "You could still save money on car insurance.
In another ad campaign, a character would be breaking bad news to another (such as a baseball manager replacing a struggling pitcher with a reliever), but then offers helpfully, "I've got good news: I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO!
" That news, of course, is of no immediate use at all to the other character(s).
The gecko first appeared in 1999, during the Screen Actors Guild strike that prevented the use of live actors. Later "wrong number" ads used Dave Kelly as the voice of the gecko.
The original commercial features the Gecko, voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer, who climbs onto a microphone on a podium and utters "This is my final plea: I am a gecko, not to be confused with GEICO, which could save you hundreds on car insurance. In the subsequent commercials with Jake Wood (which portray him as a representative of the company), the gecko speaks with a British Cockney accent, because it would be unexpected, according to Martin Agency's Steve Bassett.In 2010s commercials, the gecko's accent is more working-class, perhaps in an effort to further "humanize" him."As computer animation got better and as we got to know the character better, we did a few things," says Steve Bassett, creative director at The Martin Agency.The commercials use a variety of fictional characters such as Speed Racer, Chatty Cathy, Jed Clampett, and Bill Dutchess.Other commercials relate to a hair loss doctor who has saved by switching to GEICO, a nature show about a fish, workout with Tony Little, and a soap opera of a couple who are breaking up.Animated advertisements were part of the early GEICO Direct ads as well as the "Dumb Things" campaign.